Orlando Pirates have announced the signing of Ghanaian international goalkeeper Richard Ofori from Maritzburg United.
The highly-rated keeper had signed a one-year contract extension in January but Pirates have finally managed to pry him loose from the KwaZulu-Natal side ending many months of rumours as well as links to champions Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs.
“After many months of speculation wherein Orlando Pirates were linked to a wide assortment of talented shot-stoppers‚ most notably Maritzburg United’s Richard Ofori‚ the club can finally confirm the signing of the Ghanaian international‚” Pirates’ statement read.
“The 26-year-old has signed with the Buccaneers after agreeing terms to a three-year deal.
“… Ofori joined Maritzburg United in 2018 and went on to record 64 appearances in all competitions including nine for the Ghanaian national team.
Ofori was quoted as saying: “I am very happy to be here. It is a dream for me to be a part of this exciting squad and to work with the technical team.
“I also look forward to meeting my new teammates and being part of this exciting new project.”
Ofori will compete for a starting position between the posts with first choice Wayne Sandilands as well Siyabonga Mpontshane. He arrives at Pirates a week after French goalkeeper Joris Delle also left the club after struggling to command a starting place.
“It feels so good [signing for Pirates] because they are like one of the biggest teams in the world,” Ofori said.
“So to sign for them I feel very excited and it’s like a dream come true because every player wants to play for one of the biggest clubs in the world.
“I feel happy, good and at home because I feel like I have been playing with them for a while so to be finally here I feel very good.”
Ofori admitted his interest in Pirates was stirred by his compatriot Fatau Dauda, a former Buccaneers keeper during the 2013/14 season.
“In 2017 we went to Afcon and then we were talking about the team. He was saying Pirates are a very good team, they are a good family,” he said.
“Whenever we were talking about it, I got excited. That time in 2017 I wasn’t even playing here. Then I said ‘so this team is a very big team and the way Fatau is talking about it.’ I felt like one day I can play for this team. So to be here at this moment, I feel very excited.”
Ofori will be reunited with Fadlu Davids, the man who first brought him to South Africa when he signed him at Maritzburg. Davids is currently an assistant to Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer and he clearly used his previous relationship with Ofori to lure the goalkeeper to the Buccaneers.
“He [Davids] is a father to me because he brought me here, he signed me at Maritzburg United and then now he said I want to work with you again, can you come,” said Ofori.
“That was the time when they were thinking that maybe I wanted to join Mamelodi Sundowns, so he called me and said come. So I came, he is a father to me, he is a very good man. I’m very happy to meet him again.”
Long regarded as one of the finest goalkeepers in the South African league, Ofori had a brilliant 2019/20 season where he kept 11 clean sheets from 28 league matches. Only Pirates shot-stopper Wayne Sandilands and SuperSport United captain Ronwen Williams had more clean sheets with 12 and 13 clean sheets respectively. He has 19 international caps for the Black Stars of Ghana.
He joins a list of recent big-name signings made by Zinnbauer ahead of the new season including Bafana Bafana captain Thulani Hlatshwayo, Terrence Dzvukamanja, Deon Hotto and Thabang Monare.
Maritzburg United have moved swiftly to replace Ofori, signing 28 year old Zambian international goalkeeper Sebastian Mwange. Mwange joined the Team of Choice from Zambian Super League side Green Eagles.
He was in goal for Zambia’s Chipolopolo when they beat the Bafana Bafana 2-1 in an international friendly match just over a week ago in Rustenburg.
South African Footballer Dies In Car Crash Few Hours To Joining New Club
Anele Ngcongca, a former South African international and Mamelodi Sundowns defender has died in a car crash on early Monday morning, officials have confirmed.
Ngcongca was involved in a fatal automobile accident at about 5a.m in the morning.
The former KRC Genk defender was about completing a switch on loan to AmaZulu and according to reports, he had arrived Durban to put pen to paper before his unfortunate demise.
According to the Police Brigadier Jay Naicker, “At 05:00 this morning, a vehicle with two occupants lost control and overturned on the N2 freeway near Mtunzini,”
“A 33-year-old man was declared dead at the scene. The driver sustained serious injuries and was taken to hospital for medical attention.
“The circumstances surrounding the incident are still under investigation. A case of culpable homicide has been opened for investigation by Mtunzini SAPS.”
Ngcongca had a stellar career winning the Belgian title, league cup and Super cup with Genk. He was also a three-time winner of the Premier Soccer League with the ‘Brazilians’, where he also won the Nedbank Cup.
He featured in the historic first World Cup in Africa hosted in his home country, South Africa.
Ngcongca was survived but family members and friends.
Semenya To Take Fight With World Athletics to European Court Of Human Rights
South Africa’s athlete, Caster Semenya, will drag World Athletics to the European Court of Human Rights as she continues the fight against an IAAF regulation that would require her to take testosterone-lowering medication to defend her 800-metre title at the World Championships.
The 29-year-old double Olympic 800-metre champion s one of a number of female athletes with differences in sexual development (DSDs) competing in races ranging from 400 metres to a mile, who World Athletics insist must reduce their naturally high levels of testosterone in order to run.
This can be done either through the use of drugs or surgical interventions.
On Tuesday, her lawyers confirmed that the 2016 Olympic gold medalist, who already lost an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and another subsequent plea to the Swiss Federal Tribunal (SFT) asking for the CAS ruling to be set aside, has vowed to continue the fight.
“We will be taking World Athletics to the European Court of Human Rights,” Semenya’s lawyer Greg Nott said in a media release on Tuesday, without placing a time-frame on their appeal.
“We remain hopeful that World Athletics will see the error it has made and reverse the prohibitive rules which restrict Ms Semenya from competing.”
World Athletics have consistently said the regulations are aimed at creating a level playing field for all athletes.
“World Athletics has always maintained that its regulations are lawful and legitimate, and that they represent a fair, necessary and proportionate means of ensuring the rights of all female athletes to participate on fair and equal terms,” the governing body said in a statement after the SFT case.
Athletics South Africa insist Semenya is still part of their team for the Tokyo Olympic Games next year, though over what distance remains to be seen.
She has also been competing in the 200-metre sprint, which falls outside of the World Athletics regulations.
Motsepe Announces CAF Presidential Bid
Mamelodi Sundowns chairman Patrice Motsepe has announced his intention to run for the Confederation of African Football (CAF) presidency.
Motsepe becomes the third person to bid for the role of CAF president, with incumbent Ahmad Ahmad and Ivorian Jacques Anouma both in the running.
According to Forbes magazine, Motsepe is Africa’s tenth richest man, with an estimate of $2.4 billion.
South Africa FA president Danny Jordan who was part of the press conference said that Motsepe is the appropriate person for the presidency.
“Caf must improve its global standing,” said South Africa FA president Danny Jordaan.
“He is the most appropriate person we could offer for the leadership of Caf. We do not want any compromise on governance or ethics in football.”
According to Jordaan, Motsepe who was not present at the press conference, was in quarantine after contracting Covid-19. Jordaan had South Africa’s Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa present.
Motsepe is the second candidate to announce his bid in less than 48 hours, after Anouma was formally backed by the Ivorian federation over the weekend.
The reigning CAF president Ahmad Ahmad declared his candidacy in October and it is under threat as he is set to face a ban from football after he was found to have breached various FIFA ethic codes.
The bid from Motsepe comes ahead of Thursday’s deadline for candidates to formally register their interest.
Motsepe is already receiving support from across Africa, as Botswana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone have publicly backed the South African.
Nigerian FA president Amaju Pinnick who was also present at the press conference (online) satated that he has no intentions of running for the post, and believes Motsepe has superior qualities.
“He has more superior qualities than me,” Pinnick said.
“It’s not about me, it’s about African football. If you have someone with superior qualities, you have to learn from him and queue behind him and wait for your time.”
Motsepe is able to contest for the position as he fulfils the requirements of having been involved in football for the past five years, having led Mamelodi Sundowns since 2004, and received the backing of his federation.
CAF elections will take place in March 2021, in Morocco.
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